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Athletic facilities at Louisiana Tech sustained significant damage in a tornado.

Athletic facilities at Louisiana Tech sustain severe tornado damage

April 26, 2019
Officials say baseball, softball, soccer and tennis facilities incurred millions of dollars of damage when a tornado struck the Ruston, La., campus.

The Louisiana Tech University campus in Ruston, La., remains closed Friday as school leaders assessed the damage left by a powerful tornado.

The Monroe News-Star reports that the university's baseball stadium—J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park—the Louisiana Tech Softball and Soccer Complexes, and the tennis courts suffered catastrophic damage.

"Baseball, softball, soccer (fields), tennis (courts) all of those are devastated," Tech Athletic Director Tommy McClelland says. "It's devastating. It's a total rebuild for us."

His initial estimate of the cost of the destruction of the four athletic facilities was in the millions of dollars.

No students were injured in the Thursday morning storm, and the university's core academic buildings and residence halls next the athletic fields were nearly untouched. Two people in the city of Ruston were killed.

The Tech softball and soccer stadiums took the brunt of the force from the tornado.  At the softball complex, the outfield fence was demolished and the scoreboard had a hole ripped through it. The bullpen along the right field fence and batting cages behind the home team dugout were destroyed. Trees fell onto the stands and on top of the press box and multiple light poles snapped and were lying on the artificial turf.

Adjacent to the softball stadium, the soccer field stands were nearly wiped out and the scoreboard, team benches and both goals were moved down. The natural grass surface sustained debris and water damage.

McClelland categorized baseball field, known as "the Love Shack," as the most dangerous area on campus. He urged people to stay away from the structure.

The concrete overhang partially collapsed in two separate spots and fell into the stands, damaging many seats. The outfield wall, running from left center to right center, was completely blown away, and the scoreboard beyond the right field fence is a total loss. The batting cages suffered some wind damage.

The fencing around the tennis courts became mangled from the storm and there were several trees and other types of debris strewn on the playing surfaces.

In addition to the structural damage. Louisiana Tech softball and baseball programs have been uprooted from their home fields for the remainder of the season.

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